If a relaxed state of mind is a key factor in achievement, then Wayne Madsen should be on course for a prolific season.
Batsmen around the country are prospering and Madsen is one of them with 97 in this week’s home game against Glamorgan following 150 in the opening match at Bristol.
The 32-year-old has passed 1,000 runs a season for the past three years so it is not as though his current form should come as a surprise.
But having decided to stand down as captain at the start of the campaign, Madsen believes he is in an even better frame of mind to score runs.
A return of 274 runs from three innings backs up his claim and he admitted: “I am very relaxed, since having stepped aside from the captaincy I almost feel like a little kid again!
“There’s still pressure from batting but it’s different. I’ve got slightly less to worry about although I’m still a leader in the team and have the responsibilities of being a senior player.
“I do have less pressure and it’s definitely relaxed me in the team environment and I can feel it in my cricket as well.
“For me, there’s a lot more focus now on my batting. I’ve played well in the last few years but there’s more focus now on my skills and not the other stuff that comes with the captaincy.
“There’s definitely less on my mind and I’m also relaxed when I’m out there at the crease. When you’re more relaxed and comfortable, it breeds confidence and that’s what’s happened at the start of the season for me.”
Madsen is now qualified to play for England and makes no secret of his ambition to play at the highest level.
“I feel in good nick and playing well, I want to be pushing for an international call up and that’s a big driver for me.
“Part of the reason why I gave up the captaincy was I wanted to focus on my batting to take it to the next level and my cricket to the next level.
“That’s pretty much what my intention is and now I’ve got to back it up with the weight of runs. I’ve started well but now I’ve got to continue.”
Derbyshire‘s elite performance director Graeme Welch believes Madsen is a serious contender.
“Not many people realise how good a player Wayne Madsen is. I’ve been saying for the last year or two that there aren’t many better in the country and I think England could do a lot worse than have a look at him.”